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Kowa Super 66

Medium format MF film SLR camera


Production details
System: Kowa Six (1968)
Imaging plane
Maximum format:Medium format 6x6
Mount and Flange focal distance:Kowa Six [79mm]
Imaging plane:56 × 56mm film
Type:In-lens leaf shutter
Exposure metering:None
Exposure modes:Manual
Physical characteristics

Manufacturer description #1

Type: 6 x 6 (2-1/4" square) leaf shutter type single lens reflex camera

Film: #120 (12-exposure) or #220 (24-exposure) roll-film, switch-over pressure plate

Film Magazine: Interchangeable type, with built-in automatic light shield. Hinged and removable back cover; Polaroid and 4.5 x 6 (1-5/8 x 2-1/4") magazines available

Shutter: Between-the-lens leaf-shutter SEIKO SLV #0. Speed range: 1-1/500 sec., plus T with self-timer. M/X synchronization usable at all shutter speeds. Shutter button locking

Focusing: Direct helicoid focusing

Finder: Through-the-lens system, finder interchangeable. Standard system consists of waist-level finder hood, opening and closing in one action, with pop-up interchangeable magnifier. Interchangeable finder screen combines condenser and fresnel lenses. Dioptric adjustment possible cover range from -4 to +3D. Standard -2 diopter eyepiece interchangeable with -4, -3, -1, +1, +2, +3 eyepiece magnifiers. Area shown in finder corresponds to 95% of total negative area

Mirror: Swings up and back, returns as film winding crank/knob is wound to next exposure

Film Advance: Automatic loading system alignment start mark. One and one-third (480 deg.) turn of film winding crank/knob advances the film and cocks shutter. Double-exposure prevention. Multi-exposure possible. Film runs from bottom to top

Frame Counter: Automatic zero-reset, sequential frame counter 12/24-exposure selection lever

Others: Tripod mount: U-1/4, U-3/8". Strap stud

Manufacturer description #2

Turns 2 1/4 square into "2 1/4 round" with the widest focal length 2 1/4 fisheye lens available. Captures the infinitesimal with automatic 110mm macro lens, unique automatic extension bellows. Opens up a whole world of creative imagery with the flip of a multi-exposure button. Action. Candids. Portraiture. Special effects. Photomacrography. Meet any photographic challenge head-on with the Kowa Super 66.

Instantly interchangeable magazines - no dark slide, ever. 10 interchangeable automatic lenses - 19mm to 500mm - all synched to 1/500 for strobe. Instantly interchangeable viewfinders and focusing screens. Dozens of system-integrated components. To make the Kowa Super 66 the camera you want it to be - today and tomorrow.

Manufacturer description #3


The Kowa Super 66 is a fast-handling 2 1/4 x 2 1/4" single-lens reflex camera with modular design, permitting instant interchangeability of magazines, lenses, viewfinders, and focusing screens. Human-engineered operating controls offer maximum simplicity and convenience. Integrated accessory system includes specialized aids for virtually any photographic assignment.


Standard 12/24 roll film magazine provides full 2 1/4 x 2 1/4" (56x56mm) format, gives 24 exposures with 220 film, 12 exposures with 120 film. Optional 16/32 magazine provides 1 5/8 x 2 1/4" (42x56mm) format, corresponding most closely to proportions of standard 4x5", 8x10" and 16x20" enlargements; provides 32 exposures on 220 film, 16 exposures on 120. Polaroid magazine provides 8 2 1/4 x 2 1/4" exposures on standard pack type Polaroid film.


Perhaps nowhere is the almost incredible versatility of the Kowa Super 66 system so dramatically revealed as in the realm of interchangeable lenses. Reflecting the innovative skills acquired over decades of practical experience in making sophisticated optical systems for industrial, medical/scientific, video, and motion-picture applications, Kowa engineers have created an integrated system consisting of ten automatic lenses from 19mm to 500mm.

Each Kowa lens features a fully automatic diaphragm always at maximum aperture except for the actual exposure; a convenient preview lever allows depth-of-field examination at any time.

A welcome advantage in literally scores of applications is the precision ten-speed Seiko leaf shutter. This reliable, between-the-Iens metal shutter offers speeds from 1 to 1/500 second plus 'T' with full synchronization for electronic or conventional flash of any kind at any speed.

Parallel, equidistant shutter and aperture controls permit simultaneous changes in lens opening and shutter speed, while retaining same exposure value; yet, either control is individually adjustable at any time. Integral 10-second self timer assures maximum stability in macro/micro and ultra telephoto applications, by closing down diaphragm and raising mirror and light shield at the beginning of operational cycle. Offering greater reliability, accuracy, and synchronization capability than cloth shutter types, these precision Seiko shutters represent still another significant advantage of the Kowa Super 66 system.


A significant innovation in interchangeable magazine concepts, Kowa Super 66 film magazines require no dark slide. An automatic light shield protects film from exposure when either lens or magazine is removed. Magazine removal takes place in seconds. Equally beneficial, the L-shaped film path, unique among roll film magazines, avoids excessive film 'buckling' and stress during rapid transport, as well as eliminating the tendency for roll film to curl and 'set' when left in the magazine for extended intervals. Each Kowa roll film magazine accepts both 120 and 220 roll film through an easily made movement of pressure plate and exposure counter controls. Loading of magazines may be done on or off camera. Each magazine incorporates a film type reminder slot, accepting standard 120/220 roll film carton end tabs, as well as a highly legible exposure counter An automatic interlock prevents advancing film if shutter has not been fired. For instant preview of lighting and perspective, Kowa's Polaroid magazine accepts standard Polaroid type 105, 107 and 108 film packs providing 8 2 1/4 x 2 1/4" exposures in color black and white, or on B&W Print/Negative film - a decisive benefit to professional photographers.


Seven precision Kowa viewfinder options allow individual selection of finder best suited to photographer and subject. The standard Folding Hood opens and closes with convenient one hand touch. The built-in magnifier accepts six optional diopter inserts for maximum viewing/focusing accuracy. Kowa Critical Magnifier provides complete shield against extraneous light, includes convenient folding rubber eyecup. This finder, long favored for studio work, enables continuous diopter selection from -4 to +3. Two Kowa pentaprism viewfinders offer an unreversed, laterally correct eye level image at either a 45 deg. or 90 deg. angle depending on model selected. Of particular benefit to available light workers are the two Kowa Meter/Finder options: a 45 deg. viewing angle pentaprism and a chest level Critical Magnifier. Both Meter/Finders allow TTL readings either at open or stop-down aperture, and offer the remarkably wide sensitivity range of 32,768:1 (EV 2-17 with ASA 100 film). The Kowa Sportsfinder is an excellent aid to news and action photography permitting both eyes open eye level viewing for 55mm, 85mm, and 150mm lenses with an accurate parallax correction control. Easily interchanged within moments, these precision viewfinder systems further enhance the intrinsic ability of the Kowa Super 66 camera to tailor itself to specialized individual requirements becoming, in effect, an extension of the photographer's eye.


Six individual focusing screen types bring even greater versatility to Kowa Super 66 owners. The Plain Matte screen provides brilliant, accurate focusing with standard and telephoto lenses. The optional Horizontal Split-Image screen simplifies focusing with wide angle lenses, and for many users with lenses of other focal lengths, particularly in dim light. Alternatively the Diagonal Split-Image screen is often preferred when subject does not include pronounced vertical material.

The Microprism screen is especially valuable with medium and long focal length lenses, and delineates the point of optimum sharpness more decisively than matte screens. For architectural, copy and creative multiple exposure work, two Kowa screens are supplied with engraved reference lines at 11 mm intervals: one with plain matte center spot and one with horizontal split-image rangefinder. All Kowa Super 66 screens are easily interchanged in seconds.


Kowa Super 66 offers logical, 'human-engineered' operating controls to optimize handling speed. The extra large Transport Knob contains a fold out handle, and advances film, winds shutter positions mirror and light shield, and counts exposures in a fast 1-1/3 turn. (A built-in ratchet mechanism allows any desired number of shorter strokes as well.) Oversize, distinctively finished shutter and aperture controls allow fast, accurate selection of desired settings. Aperture rings have full and intermediate click stops for precise aperture selection. Distance, depth-of-field, shutter and aperture settings are all located in the same position, and are all visible at a glance a vitally important feature in professional work.

An automatic magazine/body interlock prevents blank frames and unwanted double exposures yet, by simply moving the multiple-exposure switch (equipped with a safety lock) any desired number of exposures may be superimposed on a single frame without removal of back or other time-consuming operations. The shutter release is threaded for standard cable releases, and contains a lock to prevent unintentional exposures. Loading all Kowa interchangeable film magazines is exceptionally rapid, as the magazine need not be removed from the body unless desired. When loading, simply aligning two arrows on the film leader positions the film for automatic 'stop' at the first frame, and all succeeding frames (when advanced) as well. Large, positive-locking controls allow instant removal of lens, viewfinder focusing screen, and magazine when desired. For maximum security Kowa grips, flash brackets, and tripod mounts screw into the threaded accessory shoe on the camera side.

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Table of contents
Instruction manual
Kowa Six system cameras

Copyright © 2012-2022 Evgenii Artemov. All rights reserved. Translation and/or reproduction of website materials in any form, including the Internet, is prohibited without the express written permission of the website owner.

35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm

Travellers' choice


Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

Professional lens (Top class)

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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.